How to Select the Right Criminal Justice School near Pell City Alabama
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Pell City Alabama. But once you have selected the type of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you undertake picking a school that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the school you pick must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly start by looking for colleges that are close to your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other issues that you need to investigate prior to making your final decision. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are important factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you might want to include in your vetting process when deciding on the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Pell City AL
As with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently needed for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Pell City AL. There are four degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. A growing number of police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree normally includes the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education makes available additional options for such professions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become specialists in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available also. Typically requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for attaining any of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to choose from when considering which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Selecting a school and program that specializes in that specialty would naturally be the best option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that situation, it would be best to investigate all of the degree options offered from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Pell City AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the program you have chosen, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not mean that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their area, or they may just prefer the independence of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There many colleges domiciled within the United States that provide degree programs online much like the ones offered on-campus. And for many Pell City AL students, especially those who continue working part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online schools are often lower in cost than on campus options. Tuition can be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make sure, as with any school you are reviewing, that the program you select is accredited by an approved organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this type of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you intend to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Pell City AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Since there are so many colleges to choose from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing schools. Clearly cost is a significant factor and you will need to pick a program that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out several others also, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are thinking about prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to make sure that the program and college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it will also aid in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Pell City AL employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the College’s Reputation? As stated previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you enroll in is important also. It’s especially crucial if you are going into the field with no relevant previous job history. With no previous experience, Pell City AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can find college rankings and reviews, such as U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be well regarded for a specific degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Pell City AL colleges you are considering. A lower rate might be an indicator that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also imperative that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to assist students in obtaining positions after graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will probably look at when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or perhaps board on campus, the college you choose will have to be within commuting distance of your Pell City AL residence. Naturally attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you opt to attend a school outside of your state of residence, you may be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. Junior and community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, attending small classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the instructors. Bigger classes afford little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes before making your ultimate determination. Talk to several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it’s important to make sure that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pell City AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Pell City AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Pell City AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Pell City area where your school campus will be located.
Pell City, Alabama
Pell City is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. The city is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Ashville. At the 2000 census the population was 9,565. At the 2010 census, the city-limit population jumped to 12,695.
Pell City was founded in 1890 by railroad investors and named after George Pell of the Pell City Iron and Land Company, one of its financial backers. The city was incorporated on May 6, 1891, but nearly failed during the Panic of 1893. However, it was revived in 1902 when Sumter Cogswell built the Pell City Manufacturing Company, which subsequently became Avondale Mills, a major landmark of the town until Thunder Enterprises, a Tennessee company, bought the building and began dismantling the factory in 2008. However, on February 14, 2008 a fire started at the mill. The fire was so large it could be seen from the Chula Vista/ Springville exit on Interstate 20 (I20). It was a sad ending for the factory. However, the smokestack and water tower still stood. The mill was the economic and social center of the town during its development and early growth. Besides the textile mill, other economic endeavors included agriculture and mercantile establishments. Large cotton, soybean, and cattle farms were located in the area. Pell City increased its size in 1956 when the nearby towns of Eden and Oak Ridge were merged with the city. The first mayor was Green Evans.
The residences of Sumter Cogswell and Green Evans (Pell City’s first mayor) are two of the earliest structures, dating from the late nineteenth century. The majority of the historic structures date from 1902 to 1905.
Enroll in the Best Criminal Justice School near Pell City AL
Making sure that you select the ideal criminal justice program near Pell City AL is vital to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the right criminal justice school predicated upon your career objectives. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, make certain that the college has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Introduction To Criminal Justice. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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